For those brave enough to try this early version, the beta version of Android 12 includes features such as enhanced privacy controls and an adaptive interface that changes the color of your phone’s appearance to match your background. Android devices now also work better with other devices such as Chromebooks and Android TVs.
If you’re an early adopter ready to help Google test the next Android operating system, here’s everything you need to know to get Android 12 on your phone right now.
The beta version of Android 12 starts with the Pixel line
As usual, Google is releasing the first public beta of Android 12 for its line of Pixel phones. These are the specific Pixel models that can be tested now:
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 4a (5G)
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
Google has announced that other device manufacturers are participating in the beta version of Android 12. More on that below.
Do you have a pixel? Here’s how to test Android 12
If you have one of the Pixel phones above and are ready to test Android 12, visit the Android Beta Program website first. Log in to the site with the same Google account you use on your phone. Google will give you some warnings about using a beta operating system. Read the information and agree when you are done.
At the bottom of the page is a list of phones associated with your account that are eligible to participate in the beta. Click on the Sign Up button for the phone you want to enroll in the program. Accept the terms and conditions and click Confirm and register when you’re done.
Right now the website is going up and down and I am experiencing random errors. Keep trying or wait an hour or two and try again if you have any issues.
Then grab your phone and go to Settings > System > Advanced > System update > Check for updates. Your phone may take a few minutes to display the update so if you don’t see the pending update when you tap the update button the first time, give it a few minutes and try again. Once your phone shows the update install it the same way you would any other update. But this time when your phone reboots it will run this early test version of Android 12.
What if I don’t have a Pixel phone?
During the keynote, Google said it has partners who will also release the first beta of Android 12 for some devices. The list shared during the keynote mentioned OnePlus, ZTE, TCL, Oppo, RealMe, Sharp, Tecno, Vivi, Xiaomi and Asus.
In the past, the installation process was different for each supplier. Most require you to install the update through a wired connection to your computer, and more often than not, you have to factory reset your phone during the update process. Google’s developer website has published a one-stop website with links to the instructions for each hardware partner participating in the beta program. Currently some links to the instructions for the respective partners are not working – I assume they will go live for the rest of the day.
Yes, you can leave the beta. But there is a catch
If you decide that the beta version of Android 12 has too many bugs or the battery life is not great, you can leave the beta program. But … and this is a big but … you have to factory reset your phone to get back to Android 11. You should be able to use an old backup to restore your phone to Android 11 form , but it is very possible that you will lose some data during the transition.
To exit the beta, go to the beta website again, but this time click the Opt-Out button under your device. Wait a minute or two then check if there is a software update in your phone Settings > System > Advanced > System update > Check for updates. Install the update, which will reset your phone to factory settings, and when you’re done, you’ll need to reset your phone, starting with logging into your Google account.
My best advice? Wait until Android 12 is closer to final release before installing the beta. As Google continues to work on and fine-tune the update, it will become more stable and will improve battery life (not to mention app developers will be able to release updates that make third-party apps compatible).